Amina-Faye Johnson: parents of baby who died with 60 broken bones jailed

The parents of an eight-week-old baby girl who died with more than 60 broken bones in her body have been jailed after being found guilty by a jury of causing or allowing her to suffer serious physical harm.

During their police interviews, Naomi Johnson, 24, and Benjamin O’Shea, 26, claimed paramedics caused the injuries suffered by their daughter Amina-Faye Johnson, who had 41 fractures to her ribs and 24 fractures to her limbs when she died in April 2019.

O’Shea, a former army reservist of Southwark, south-east London, was jailed for eight and a half years, while Johnson, of Battersea, southwest London, was jailed for seven years.

Judge Nigel Peters QC, sentencing at Inner London crown court, said that “sadly” this is “yet another harrowing case of parents abusing or being cruel to their child”. He added: “There is no doubt that this is a case of the highest seriousness in terms of cruelty to children in terms of the injuries.”

The couple had called 999 after their daughter stopped breathing. Paramedics arrived within minutes but she died at the scene. The court heard that the Metropolitan police said there were no visible signs of injuries and Amina-Faye was initially thought to have suffered a sudden unexplained death, but X-rays later identified her broken bones.

Radiologists said the fractures were highly indicative she had suffered physical abuse, although no exact cause of death was established.

The couple suggested their daughter’s death could have been the result of inoculations she had received when they took her to the GP the day before her death, and that the rib fractures were caused by paramedics performing CPR.

Amina-Faye suffered “deliberate, vicious injuries”, with the worst to her right thigh bone which could “only have been caused by a brutal attack”, the court was told. It was “remarkable” there were no signs externally of her fractures, the judge said. Both parents shared equal blame as it was “inconceivable” they would not have noticed her suffering.

A medical expert concluded the baby’s limb bone fractures had been caused over at least seven occasions, while her rib fractures had been sustained in at least two incidents.

The relationship between Johnson and O’Shea, who met when she was 15 and he was 18 or 19, and who have now split up, was described by the judge as “fractious” and “tempestuous”.

It was clear in court that there was still a “temper between the two of them”, the judge said. He said O’Shea spun a web of lies about his background, work and career to suggest he was suffering after serving in Afghanistan, though it “was all completely untrue”.

Detectives found a call Johnson had made to NHS 111 on 1 April 2019 reporting that Amina-Faye had been coughing blood. When the doctor phoned back and spoke to O’Shea advising him to take her to hospital, she was not taken.

The two were also each given two months, to be served consecutively, after being found guilty of cruelty to a person under-16 in relation to a separate child.

Amina-Faye’s case was described as “truly heartbreaking” by D I Melanie Pressley, who led the investigation. She said: “In eight weeks of life, Amina suffered an unimaginable number of injuries. The trauma she endured in her short life is impossible to comprehend. Her injuries are a catalogue of the most despicable abuse.”

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